Friday 17th November, 2017
A fraudster who lived a life of luxury on funds stolen from his train company employer has been jailed for six years.
Mr Saunders, a Manager at the company, siphoned the cash from manufacturer Bombardier through fake companies and used it to pay for expensive skiing holidays in America and Harley-Davidson motorbikes.
The 52-year-old used joint bank accounts with his ex-wife to pay fake invoices in a prolonged and sophisticated fraud, Hove Crown Court heard.
Jailing Saunders for six years after a trial, Judge Paul Tain attacked his sense of entitlement and said he found it unbelievable the former manager had pleaded not guilty to a profoundly significant fraud.
He said: “This is a deliberate, planned and thought through fraud based upon a knowledge and skill set which made you aware of shortcomings in the computer system at the time.
“You thought you were making a profit for this company in your mind and you thought they could share that with you.
Judge Tain spoke of his disquiet at the attitude Saunders had taken during the trial against his former employers, co-workers and ex-wife.
He said: “You trashed everybody about whom you spoke, your wife, co-workers, the company for which you worked.”
The judge said his guilt had been obvious to everybody in court.
The judge said he even checked court paperwork to make sure Saunders had been advised his sentence would be lighter if he pleaded guilty.
“You must’ve hoped the jury would have been bamboozled,” he said.
Prosecutor Hugh French told the court co-defendant Roy George had pleaded guilty at magistrates court.
George ran two companies used by Saunders to pay fake invoices after becoming a supplier to Bombardier in 2010.
His share of the fraud was £134,340.17, the court heard.
George was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Tain told him: “Thank your lucky starts you’ve avoided imprisonment.”
Judge Tain told Saunders he would serve at least half of his six-year sentence in custody and there would be a proceeds of crime order in due course.
Such is the extent of his deception and sense of entitlement, that both Serco and Kingfisher employed Saunders in procurement positions after the theft dismissal from Bombardier.
They have been contacted to see if they were aware of the reason for his prior dismissal.